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Provincial Action on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women - 2015

Category:STATUS OF WOMEN
Sub-Category:SOCIAL - ABUSED WOMEN & CHILDREN/PORNOGRAPHY
Resolution Number:800.20.1
Club:Belleville, Trenton & District
Year:2015
Status:Open
Reaffirmed:
Comments:

BACKGROUND: The Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview Report
identified that as of 2014, 1,181 indigenous women were missing (164) or murdered (1,017) with 225 of
these cases unsolved.
Indigenous women represent 4.3% of the Canadian population, and 11% of the total number of
missing women. In 2009, the rate of victimization of indigenous women was reported to be three times
higher than non-indigenous women. Tragically while both indigenous and non-indigenous women
homicide victims knew their offender, indigenous women are more likely to be killed by a male
acquaintance. Key risk factors associated with murdered indigenous women include employment
status, social assistance, use of intoxicants, and sex trade involvement (Note: these numbers were not
significantly higher than non-indigenous women).
Recommendations have included: enhancing the efforts to solve these cases including sharing
of information with all police jurisdictions, focus on prevention efforts especially in high risk
communities/areas, increase public awareness, and strengthening the data (Royal Canadian Mounted
Police, 2014).
An Amnesty International 2004 Report stated that root causes of increased vulnerability of
indigenous women to violence are racism, discrimination, social and economic marginalization, and
poor government policy that promotes a history of discrimination. Disproportionate number of
indigenous women live in extreme poverty and homelessness thus making them vulnerable to
exploitation and extreme brutality by men who escape justice due social indifference to indigenous
women’s safety and welfare (Amnesty International 2004; Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights (IACHR), 2014). This history of discrimination has resulted in indigenous females constituting,
“one of the most disadvantaged group in Canada” (IACHR 2014, p. 12).
Amnesty International in 2004 urged Canadian officials at all levels of government to implement
the required measures to eliminate the marginalization of indigenous women in Canada and to build
better relations between indigenous people and the justice system. Development of specific protocols
were recommended for all police forces and the inclusion of designated personnel to handle missing
persons’ cases and address the specific concerns and circumstances when missing indigenous women
are reported (Amnesty International, 2004).
Canada as a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) has a legal obligation
under, “the OAS Charter and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man” (IACHR, 2014,
p 12) to perform due diligence and implement measures to address these social and economic
disparities. These measures must also address the factors associated with the racial and gender
discrimination as a result of past and current institutional and structural inequalities. The IACHR has
stated that a national coordinated response to implement these policies must include the consultation
of, “different parties involved, especially including indigenous women, indigenous women’s groups, civil
society organizations and families and relatives of missing and murdered indigenous women, in order
for those mechanisms to be successful” (IACHR, 2014, p 13).
References:
1. Amnesty International (2004). Stolen sisters: Discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada: A
summary of Amnesty International’s concerns. Retrieved from
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR20/001/2004/en/48f05a31-d589-11dd-bb24-
1fb85fe8fa05/amr200012004en.pdf
2. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2014). Missing and murdered Indigenous women in British Columbia,
Canada. OEA/Ser.L/V/II., Doc. 30/14, ISBN 978-0-8270-6324-2
3. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (2014). Missing and murdered Aboriginal women: A national operational overview.
Retrieved from http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/mmaw-faapd-eng.pdf

RESOLUTION: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario and in particular the Attorney General, the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, the Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister of Community and Social Services, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to immediately adopt and implement cross-jurisdictional collaboration on information regarding missing and murdered indigenous women; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario and in particular the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister of Community and Social Services, and the Minister of Children and Youth Services to provide the necessary social and supportive services to all affected family members and indigenous women wishing to leave an abusive situation; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario and in particular the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister of Community and Social Services, and the Minister of Children and Youth Services use a collaborative and holistic approach to address the underlying factors of discrimination and longstanding social marginalization which promotes violence against indigenous women as outlined in the reports by Amnesty International, and IACHR; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario to work collaboratively with representatives from the indigenous organizations, especially indigenous women, and encourage the federal, provincial and territorial governments to create and implement an action plan to ensure policies are implemented to address the racism, discrimination, and marginalization experienced by indigenous women.

 

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Article ID: 4374

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